Since it’s rise in the early 2000’s, SMS marketing has grown in leaps and bounds. Not only is SMS marketing a cost-effective way to reach large numbers of people, SMS has real penetration. SMS messages get opened by their recipients, no argument. In fact, research shows that more than 98.6% of all SMS messages get read within 20 minutes of receiving.

Given the exceptional delivery rate, just what is the best way to get your foot in the SMS door, and, in the process, turn this potent mobile platform into real-life sales?

Read on to find out.

1.       Establish that you have a product worth selling

Regardless of the platform you’re using to promote your product, if you haven’t crafted a compelling USP (Unique Selling Proposition), you’re going to have a bad time. Just what need does your product or service satisfy for your customers? If you take away all the puffery what is the specific benefit that your customers stand to gain?

The cleverest marketing strategy in the world won’t convince anyone if your fundamental proposition is weak.

2.       Sign up for an account with Texta HQ

SMS messaging was once a cost-prohibitive exercise. One and two-way SMS mobile messaging has historically been costly and unreliable. That’s no longer the case however. Companies like Optimizer HQ’s Texta makes bulk SMS messaging inexpensive and easily automated, with 100% reliability.

Setting up a personalised campaign is a simple process and Texta offers 100% deliverability to Telecom NZ, Vodafone NZ, 2 Degrees, Telstra Clear, Black & White cellular service providers. They also have reliable 2-way functionalities with all of these network providers.

3.       Buy credits

You won’t pay any account or monthly fees with Texta HQ. New accounts come with 25 free credits so you can test your message on a small percentage of your mailing test before your big send (which you should be doing anyway). After that, just purchase as many credits as you need — you only pay for SMS messages that you actually send and they never expire.

The best part:  when someone replies to your SMS, it’s completely free and is included in the price of your initial SMS send.

4.       Make a mobile-friendly site

If you’ve got an online store it’s becoming more and more important to make sure it’s optimised for mobile. These days people expect to be able to see an online version of your business no matter where they are.

Recent research by Google found that 41% of smartphone users had made a purchase directly on their smartphone, with a further 37% saying they’ve researched an item on their smartphone before purchasing online. If you’re drawing attention to your product via SMS you want to be able to convert those interested parties immediately and that means an online store.

Building a mobile site is a relatively straightforward process and it is the way new and established businesses are boosting their sales in an increasingly mobile world.

5.       Use Swipe HQ

If you’re looking to turn that SMS traffic into a real-life sale you’ll need to be able to accept credit cards on your website.

The best option is Swipe HQ — the perfect choice for businesses looking to process credit cards online but wanting to keep charges as low as possible. SwipeHQ has the lowest fees in the business (2.75% per transaction), no set up fees and no monthly cost, hidden or otherwise.

The solution offers a huge array of tools for online merchants — backend sales visibility, automated email receipts (with clickable ‘pay now’ buttons), customisable buttons and payment screens and mobile tracking — that far surpasses many of the options currently used by bricks and mortar stores.

There’s no doubt that SMS offers a highly effective medium for reaching customers and making sales. While burgeoning Web 2.0 solutions — such as social media marketing — are currently getting all the glory, they are still a long way off from competing with the tried and true, yet still not fully explored, world of direct SMS marketing.